Europe Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady; oil stocks in focus
PARIS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - European stocks are expected to open little changed on Friday following the previous session's rally, but heavyweight energy shares could feel the pinch of a retreat in oil prices as a possible Western military action on Syria appeared less likely. At 0628 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.1 percent to up 0.1 percent. The STOXX Europe 600 oil and gas sector index - which has gained 2.6 percent since the beginning of the week, surging along with oil prices as strikes against the Syrian government seemed imminent - could be dragged lower as oil slipped back. After jumping above $117 a barrel earlier this week, Brent futures slid toward $114 on Friday, with worries over supply disruptions in the Middle East easing after Britain said it will not join any military action against Syria. It was the latest setback to U.S.-led efforts to punish Damascus over the use of chemical weapons against civilians. "The rally in energy stocks this week looks excessive, so I expect to see people pulling the trigger to cash in the gains ahead of the weekend," a Paris-based equity and exchanged-traded funds trader said. "This was a short-term spike, and now we're back to longer-term concerns about excess supply." Royal Dutch Shell , BP and Total feature among Europe's biggest blue chips. The FTSEurofirst 300 gained 0.7 percent on Thursday at 1,207.05 points, bouncing back after falls of some 2 percent over the last two days. The benchmark index is still down 1.4 percent on the week. On the earnings front, L'Oreal will be in the spotlight after the world's biggest cosmetics maker posted improved margins and a nearly 8 percent rise in first-half operating profit. Les Echos newspaper reported that its Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon said the group will be ready to buy Nestle's 29.5 percent stake in the cosmetics giant next year. With Europe's earnings season drawing to an end, about 55 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies have met or beaten analysts forecasts, Thomson Reuters Starmine data shows, the best relative earnings season since the third quarter of 2012. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0630 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,638.17 0.2 % 3.21 NIKKEI 13,388.86 -0.53 % -70.85 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 506.02 0.66 % 3.34 EUR/USD 1.3243 0.02 % 0.0003 USD/JPY 98.16 -0.18 % -0.1800 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.771 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.852 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,406.74 -0.06 % -$0.90 US CRUDE $107.82 -0.9 % -0.98 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares mostly rise as Syria action on hold > Wall St rises on economy, but Syria concerns limit gains > Oil shares lead Nikkei down as Syria concerns abate > FOREX-Dollar steals show on upbeat US data, Japan also surprises > Gold heads for 2nd monthly rise; but Syria, stimulus concerns linger > METALS-Copper prices on track for biggest monthly gain in 11 months > Brent falls toward $114 as Syria concerns ease COMPANY NEWS: L'OREAL, NESTLE L'Oreal posted improved margins and a nearly 8 percent rise in first-half operating profit, despite slightly weaker demand in major markets such as the United States. The cosmetic group said it will be ready to buy Nestle's 29.5 percent stake in L'Oreal next year, French daily Les Echos reported, citing L'Oreal Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon. LAGARDERE The French media group posted a 23 percent rise in first-half operating profit at its media business and stuck to its full-year earnings growth target. ACS The Spanish builder on Thursday posted a net profit of 357 million euros ($472.12 million) in the first half of 2013, a comeback from losses a year ago, although core profit (EBITDA) fell 2.1 percent to 1.545 billion euros. HERMES The French luxury group posted a 14 percent rise in first-half operating profit, thanks to strong demand for its leather and silk accessories. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO The Italian luxury shoemaker said core earnings rose 26 percent in the first half as Asian shoppers and well-heeled tourists in Europe snapped up its products. VOLVO The Swedish truck group, which sells under its own name and Renault, lost market share in Europe in the first half of the year compared to the same period a year earlier, according to business daily Dagens Industri. The group's market share fell 1.3 percent in the first six months of 2013, DI said, citing unspecified market statistics. It said Volvo Group had a market share of 24.8 percent in Europe in the first half of 2013. The paper said Scania SCVb.ST had raised its market share to 14.5 percent from 13 percent. FIAT The Italian carmaker's unions expect an update from Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne on long-delayed investments at its flagship Mirafiori factory at a meeting in September, union sources said on Thursday. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM, TELEFONICA DEUTSCHLAND EU telecoms chief Neelie Kroes has scrapped a draft proposal to cut wholesale roaming fees by as much as 90 percent, a European Commission document seen by Reuters showed, following criticism from major telecom companies. ALLIANZ Allianz is planning to outsource a big part of its data processing to an external service provider and is in negotiations with IBM and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), with CSC being the frontrunner, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday, citing no sources. The paper said the deal could have a volume of significantly more than 500 million euros ($667 million). FRAPORT Business at Frankfurt airport was "very good" in August, while reservations for the winter were modestly positive, the airport operator's Chief Executive Stefan Schulte told German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung.